Washington — The House Ethics Committee is taking no further action after investigating a complaint alleging possible misconduct concerning Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell’s interactions with a suspected Chinese intelligence operative, the committee told Swalwell in a letter that he posted online.
In 2021, the committee told Swalwell it was investigating allegations that he may have violated House rules, laws or other standards of conduct through his interactions with a Chinese woman named Christine Fang. Fang was a volunteer on Swalwell’s congressional campaign in 2014, according to Axios, which reported in 2020 that Swalwell received a “defensive briefing” from the FBI about Fang’s supposed ties to Chinese intelligence in 2015. Swalwell cut ties with Fang and was not accused of any wrongdoing, the 2020 Axios report said.
The Ethics Committee encouraged Swalwell to contact the Office of House Security for guidance on steps he can take to prevent or address any attempts of improper influence by foreign agents.
“The committee has previously reviewed allegations of improper influence by foreign agents and in doing so, cautioned that members should be conscious of the possibility that foreign governments may attempt to secure improper influence through gifts and interactions,” Chairman Michael Guest, a Republican, and Ranking Member Susan Wild, a Democrat, said in the letter to Swalwell.
Swalwell’s interactions with Fang drew the attention of Republicans, who blocked him from serving on the House Intelligence Committee when they gained control of the House this year.
“I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security, and I cannot simply recognize years of service as the sole criteria for membership on this essential committee. Integrity matters more,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries at the time.
In a statement Wednesday, Swalwell said it’s “time to move on.”
“Nearly 10 years ago I assisted the FBI in their counterintelligence investigation of a campaign volunteer,” Swalwell said, noting that GOP leaders were briefed about the matter years ago and still appointed him to the Intelligence Committee. “Despite the FBI repeatedly saying I was nothing but helpful and never accused of wrongdoing, this complaint was filed by a House Republican. It’s time to move on. The bipartisan House Ethics Committee had this case for over two years. They had the power of subpoena. They received answers from me in response to requests for information. Today, they are closing this matter and did not make a finding of any wrongdoing.”
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